By Martin Schray
If you want free jazz concerts in Germany, away from big cities and scenes like Berlin and Cologne, there are marvelous venues in the country. I’ve previously mentioned exceptional clubs like the Manufaktur in Schorndorf and Weikersheim’s W71, but there‘s also Raum für Musik (Room for Music) in Zoglau (Bavaria) and Kulturspeicher in Leer (in the north, close to Bremen) and a number of others. The best venue however, is the Nigglmühle in Bernbeuren, set in the alpine uplands south of Munich.
There are a number of things which make the concerts so special. First, the idyllic setting: the former mill is hard to find – it’s located at the outskirts of a village at a little creek – to get there one passes meadows and mountain scenery, and the air is wonderful. It’s a place where people go to to vacation. Secondly, the welcome and hospitable atmosphere: Peter Ernst and his family are excellent hosts. You pay for drinks but there are free schmaltz and curd cheese sandwiches and after the concerts, free soup. Finally, there’s the venue itself: the concerts take place in the former storage room attached to the farmstead. The wooden walls create a unique and attractive acoustic, and the room is stuffed with memorabilia from previous concerts and art brut exhibits. Different levels means clambering to get to your seat, but you‘re also close to the musicians.
A thoroughly entertaining evening with beautiful music, good talk between sets and nice food to close. The next concert, in the autumn, is Jürg Wickihalder, Barry Guy and Lucas Niggli (also featuring Maya Homburger).